FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Nick Mangold’s season is over — and so might his tenure with the New York Jets.
The star center was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury Thursday after aggravating it during the Jets’ 41-10 loss to Indianapolis on Monday night.
He was flying to North Carolina on Thursday to visit orthopedic specialist Dr. Robert Anderson to get another look at his sprained right ankle.
“He’s hurting pretty good,” coach Todd Bowles said, adding that surgery could be an option.
“Depending on what the doctors say,” Bowles said, “I’m sure it could be.”
The team decided to shut down Mangold, who will be replaced by Wesley Johnson at center. Johnson filled in as the starter for four games after Mangold initially injured his ankle against Baltimore on Oct. 23.
The 32-year-old Mangold, a first-round pick in 2006 and the longest-tenured player on the team, is due nearly $6.075 million in base salary next year and the Jets could save $9.075 million on the salary cap by cutting him.
Johnson is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after the season, but could be a younger — he’s 25 — and cheaper option for the Jets.
NFL Network first reported that Mangold would be done for the season. The Jets later confirmed that he was being placed on IR.
Safety Doug Middleton, an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian State who had a solid training camp, will be promoted from the practice squad to take Mangold’s spot on the active roster.
The Jets also signed former Navy fullback Chris Swain to the practice squad. Swain had a touchdown run during the preseason for San Diego after being signed as an undrafted free agent.
Mangold saw one of his best friends retire after last season in left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who was also 32 and still productive. But Mangold recently said he has no intentions of retiring despite his injury-filled season.
“If anything, it’s made me want to play more so I can keep going, because I’ve missed being out there,” he said two weeks ago.
“It’s probably going to make me linger on longer than my body will want me to. It gives you the thought that, hey, this game could be gone at any moment. So, you’ve got to enjoy the time that you get out there.”
Mangold played in 82 straight games to begin his career before being forced to sit out two games in 2011. He had missed only four games in his first 10 seasons and was selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.
Mangold injured the ankle against the Ravens when a teammate rolled into his leg during a play.
He spent some time in a walking boot and admitted to being overaggressive in his rehabilitation and suffered a setback. Mangold missed a few more weeks before getting back on the field on Monday night.
He lasted 45 plays against the Colts before reinjuring the ankle. Bowles said Mangold was back in a boot after the game.
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